JEFFERSON, La. — The Huey P. Long bridge has reopened after being completely closed earlier this afternoon.
A Jefferson Parish spokesperson said that the antenna of a vessel hit the underside of the bridge, forcing the bridge's closure around 1:30 p.m. this afternoon. It reopened just after 4 p.m.
Eyewitness News' Paul Murphy said that according to the New Orleans/Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, a ship called 'Clio' was heading north to a tank terminal in St. Rose when the highest point of the vessel hit the bridge.
Steve Hawthorn, of the pilots association said that the incident was a 'direct result of the high river level.' Vessels normally have 137 feet of 'clearance' between the water and the bottom of the bridge. There is less clearance due to the river level.
The Coast Guard and Department of Transportation inspected the bridge for any possible damage before allowing vehicles to cross again.
The water level on the Mississippi River has been running much higher than normal, necessitating the opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway Wednesday.